Information for students

For the Animal Cognitive Ecology course click here
For  the Agent Based Modelling Workshop click here
Student research in the ACElab

Want to carry out a research project at the ACElab? If you're motivated, reliable, and interested in animal behaviour, you will fit in well here. While primarily aimed at University of Regensburg students, any interested person may apply. Contact Dr. Tomer Czaczkes for details.

 

We offer a range of research project types:

  • 3 and 6 week research practicals (BSc & MSc)
    (note: as 3 weeks is too short to do sensible science, we lengthen these into 4 week projects, students working 4 days a week, c. 6 hours a day)

  • Full BSc and MSc projects

  • PhD studentships
    PhD students from other labs who are interested in running a project in the ACElab are also welcome.

 

Student projects at the ACElab always involve real research. We aim to publish all suitable student research in high quality journals, with the students as a co-author on the publication.

Experimental methods

The ACE lab is a behavioural ecology and comparative psychology lab, so all our projects relate to animal behaviour. Projects might involve:

  • Investigating memory use or trail following in ants using Y-mazes

  • Exploring how ants value food sources by observing pheromone deposition (see this in action here)

  • Studying collective foraging decisions by releasing hundreds of ants onto a foraging arena

  • Studying bumblebee choices on artificial flowers to see whether plants can manipulate pollinators

  • Using Agent Based Modelling to understand how the behaviours of individual animals affect how groups react

 

Our main study organism is are the ants Lasius niger and Linepithema humile, and the bumblebee Bombus terrestris, but we will also study flies, woodlice, spiders, or any other animal which is right for the experiments we want to run. We mainly do lab work, but will happily do fieldwork in both Europe and worldwide, if we can find a good excuse to go.

Ant experiment
Ant experiment
Marked ants
Marked ants

paint-marked Lasius niger ants drinking at a sugar drop

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Path use as information
Path use as information

Little glass beads coated in the smell of ants are used to test whether ants use the presence of other ants as an information source.

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Y-maze
Y-maze
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Collective decision making
Collective decision making

We examine how memory and pheromones affect colony-level decisions, such as which food source to use.

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Agent-based model
Agent-based model

If we can't run the experiment we want to in real life, we can make a model to simulate it.

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Ant toilets
Ant toilets

Using coloured food, we examine the defecation behaviour of ants. Because why not?

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Hibernation

As we use wild-caught ants, much of our work can only take place between March and November.